First Published: 2012-12-02

 

For First time in Kuwait: Shiites emerge as main victors in polls

 

Shiite candidates bag 15 of 50-seat parliament, after they refused to join calls by Sunni-dominated opposition to boycott polls.

 

Middle East Online

By Omar Hasan - KUWAIT CITY

Three women elected compared to four in 2009

The Shiite minority Sunday emerged the main victors in Kuwait's parliamentary polls boycotted by the opposition which considered the new assembly "illegitimate" amid poor voter turnout.

Shiite candidates bagged 15 of the 50-seat parliament, their biggest tally ever, as they refused to join calls by the Sunni-dominated opposition to boycott the polls in protest against the amendment of electoral law.

Shiites, who form around 30 percent of Kuwait's native population of 1.2 million, had nine seats in the previous parliament elected in 2009 and seven in the assembly elected in February and later scrapped by a court.

Three women were elected to the new parliament compared to four in 2009, according to results released by the National Election Commission.

The new house includes as many as 30 new faces reflecting the total boycott by former MPs who are leading members of the opposition.

Sunni Islamists were reduced to a small minority of four MPs compared with as many as 23 in the house elected in February.

The boycott was called to protest the government's unilateral amendment of the key electoral law ahead of the polls. The opposition says the action enabled the government to manipulate the outcome of polls.

The opposition hailed the boycott as very successful as a majority of voters stayed home, and described the election as "unconstitutional."

"Based on statistics compiled by the opposition, the voter turnout was 26.7 percent," said former MP Khaled al-Sultan at the end of an emergency meeting by the opposition after the ballots closed.

The information ministry website however reported that turnout was 38.8 percent and opposition youth groups reported lower percentages. No official figures have been released by the National ELection Commission.

Veteran opposition leader Ahmad al-Saadoun said the "election is unconstitutional," while several other former MPs called on Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to repeal the disputed amendment.

The opposition Popular Committee for Boycotting Election said in a statement that the new parliament "does not represent the majority of Kuwaiti people and has lost popular and political legitimacy."

It also said all legislation issued by the house will be considered illegal.

The Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition had vowed to continue street protests until it forces the demise of the parliament.

Political analyst Mohammad al-Ajmi said the new parliament will be unlikely to survive for a long period as the country appears headed for an escalation of tension.

"I think the election will herald a new phase of political instability following the huge boycott ... because the new parliament does not fairly represent the Kuwaiti society," Ajmi said.

The major Bedouin tribes which boycotted the polls were the main losers, according to Ajmi.

The Awazem, Mutair and Ajmans, the biggest three tribes with a population of over 400,000 people have only one MP in the new parliament against an average of 17 in previous assemblies.

Voting passed off without any incident despite high political tension between the Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition and the government led by the Al-Sabah ruling family.

The vote, the second in 10 months and the fifth since mid-2006, came nearly two months after the emir dissolved a pro-government parliament following its reinstatement in June by a court ruling.

As per Kuwaiti law, the cabinet must resign and a new government be formed before the new assembly holds its inaugural session within two weeks.

The OPEC member has been rocked by a series of political crises which stalled development despite a huge wealth from oil.

 

Iraq seeks to ease sectarian tensions after Sunni mosque massacre

Israel carries out deadly strikes in Gaza as Egypt readies new talks

Yemen Huthi rebels weigh draft deal on technocrat government

Captured soldiers: Jihadists will kill us, if Hezbollah remains in Syria

British jihadists on forefront on IS propaganda

Hammond: Britain will not work with Assad to combat IS

Gunmen open fire at Iraqi worshippers during Friday prayers

Abbas holds talks with Meshaal for second day

33 killed in fatal Egypt resort coach collision

Iraq Kurds launch offensive to retake Jalawla from IS

Europe launches fresh UN bid to end Gaza conflict

US admits IS most dangerous terror group it faced in recent years

Abbas holds talks with Meshaal in Doha

Iraq Kurds face real challenges in fight against IS jihadists

Death toll in Syria war tops 180,000

France delivered arms to Syrian rebels 'a few months ago'

US reveals failed operation to rescue American hostages in Syria

Tougher penalties as UAE updates counter-terrorism law

Somali journalists face trial for ‘violence incitement’

Iran asks West: What is our reward for help against IS jihadists?

Turkey ruling party meets to agree Davutoglu as PM

Kuwait nabs suspected Al-Nusra Front financier

Obama demands world action against jihadist ‘cancer’

Three senior Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades commanders killed in Gaza

Hamas armed wing declares end to truce talks in Cairo

Tribal clashes kill dozens of people in troubled Darfur

Dubai real estate giant to repay debt four years ahead

Egypt hopes power cuts could ease next week

Jihadist beheading of US journalist sparks worldwide revulsion

Iran provides ‘advice’ to Kurds fighting IS jihadists in Iraq

Power cuts and petrol shortages: Life grows increasingly difficult in Libya

Suspected attack by Kurdish rebels kills one Turkish soldier

UN launches huge aid operation in northern Iraq

Israel pounds Gaza as mourners cry ‘revenge’

Outgoing first lady breaks silence on ‘falsehoods’ against Turkey President

Ex CIA boss: journalist's killing 'first IS terrorist attack against US

Scores of armed Yemen rebels boost positions in capital

Sinai jihadists punish supporters of Egypt army with decapitation

Germany ready to support Iraq Kurds in battle against ‘barbaric’ IS

Iran’s 'reformist' science minister sacked

Turkey assures Ocalan Kurdish peace process will press ahead

Hollande: international situation ‘most serious’ since 2001

Israeli minister: ‘Deif deserves to die’

German minister accuses Qatar of financing IS

US hits back at criticism of Ferguson racial unrest